Results of Recent E-Cat Testing
A report on the testing of Rossi’s E-Cat by an independent group of professors and scientists was released on October 8, 2014. This group had reported on their work done on an earlier version of the E-Cat last year. The new report can be found at: http://www.elforsk.se/Global/Omv%C3%A4rld_system/filer/LuganoReportSubmit.pdf
I had planned on writing a review of this much awaited report; however, an excellent review has already been written by Dr. Michael McKubre, which can be found at: http://www.infinite-energy.com/iemagazine/issue118/analysis.html
These two documents can also be found by going to http://www.e-catworld.com/ and clicking on the posts “Third Party Report Finally gets Permanent Home (Rossi Mentions Updates and Corrections)” and “Michael McKubre Reviews the E-Cat Report”. (Click on “Older posts” if these posts no longer appear.). You can also get to the report at the E-Cat World website by clicking on “3RD PARTY E-CAT TEST REPORTS” at the top of their homepage. For those that don’t have time to review the actual report in detail, a summary of the report has been written by Hank Mills and can be found at: http://pesn.com/2014/10/10/9602543_Apocalypse-Revealed–The-Four-Horsemen_of_Andrea-Rossis_E-Cat/
My overall reaction to the report was very positive due to two very important results. First, the data in the report shows conclusive evidence of excess energy being produced- a factor of 3 to 3.6 more output power than input power for a time period of about 32 days. Secondly, the analysis of the “fuel” (Ni powder plus additives) before and after the 32 day run, show a nuclear change, that is essentially all of the naturally occurring isotopes of nickel in the starting “fuel” were converted to 62Ni. Also a dramatic change was measured in the ratio of 6Li:7Li isotopes. Both of these measured nuclear changes and the fact that the amount of excess heat generated exceeds any know chemical reaction by several orders of magnitude demonstrate that a nuclear reaction is responsible for the excess heat. One other big improvement in this experiment as compared to the earlier published independent test is the operating temperature of the reactor. I was hoping the test would be run at somewhat greater than 500 oC to demonstrate a thermal output that potentially could have use in applications for electrical power generation. In the 32 day test run the E-cat was run at about 1260 oC for the first 10 days and run at about 1400 oC for the remainder of the test. An E-cat operating in this temperature range has unlimited commercial applications.
In agreement with Dr. McKubre my primary criticism of the report is that the control in the experiment was somewhat less than ideal. An ideal control would have been to have a device that could be heated to the initial operating temperature (1260 oC) with just the resistive heating coils (this would have required some massive coils!). Alternatively, after removing the “fuel” at the end of the 32-day run, the coils should have been powered up to the ~800W level used for the first 10 days of the test. The coils would only have had to survive for long enough for steady state temperatures to be measured.
A large section of the report deals with the calculation of the output power. Dr. McKubre questioned whether the accuracy of the calculation was as good as claimed by the authors. Comments by those on the web with a good background in radiative and convective heat calculations seem to think the authors have done a good job in their calculations, although perhaps not to the accuracy claimed.
Other Comments/ Questions
Although the Pout:Pin ratio (COP) in this experiment is a modest 3.5, the experimenters chose not to run the E-Cat in a more favorable on/off mode that would greatly have reduced the overall input power. This version of the E-cat should be able to be operated at a COP of greater than 30 (perhaps at a temperature somewhat below the 1400 oC in this experiment).
The authors mention “and some specific electromagnetic pulses” on page 1 in the “Introduction”, but make no further comments on what these pulses are used for. Based on several LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reaction) theories that can be found on the web, these pulses are used with energy from the vibration of the Ni lattice to combine an electron and a proton (H nucleus) and form a neutron. These neutrons are responsible for all of the nuclear reactions.
The SIMS data shows Li present even in particles believed to be pure Ni (Particle #1 on pages 43-44). Li may be the catalyst Rossi claims, but does not identify, in his patent applications. Perhaps he diffuses some Li into the Ni as an initial preparation step for the Ni. Could some Li in the Ni lattice improve neutron formation?
A big iron particle (Particle #3 on pages 43-44) shows up in the starting material. I thought that this might just be an artifact (no Fe particles are identified in the fuel at the end of the run). However, Hank Mills claims Fe has been observed in the starting fuel previously and therefore is present for some unknown specific purpose. It would have been useful if the weight percentages of the Fe, C, Ca, CL, Mg, and Mn that were found in the initial fuel (page 53) had been reported.
It would be useful to determine at what point in the test essentially all of the Ni has been converted to 62Ni. My guess is that although this conversion is providing some useful output energy, it is not the primary means of energy production. Perhaps the primary energy production mechanism becomes more efficient once all of the Ni is converted to 62Ni. Could this be the reason the required input energy to sustain a temperature decreased during the first 10 days of the test?
It was interesting to note that Rossi was surprised with the measured result of essentially all of the Ni being converted to 62Ni. He claims to be re-examining his theory based on this new result. (Earlier information provided by Rossi indicated that some of the Ni was being converted to Cu in the low temperature E-Cat, but no data had ever been provided on the isotropic concentrations of the Ni and if they had changed during the operation of the E-Cat.) No Cu was found in the “ash” (remaining fuel at the end of the experiment) in this experiment.)
There appears to be a discrepancy in the report on the amount on “ash” at the end of the test that was available for analysis. On page 8 the authors claim they were given the test tube of “ash” for analysis, but both on page 28 and page 53, those doing the analysis complain of a lack of amount of material to analyze. Perhaps they did not recover much of the original material, but just failed to mention this on page 8?
After pouring the initial fuel into the reactor, how was it distributed within the reactor? Was it uniformly distributed in a line at the bottom of the reactor or was the reactor rolled to get the most of the interior walls coated with the fine powder? Is the operation of the E-cat dependent on the fuel distribution within the reactor?
Dr. McKubre didn’t see how the ~ 100W increase in input power at day 10 of the test run produced a ~700W increase in output power (he would have expected a more linear response). However, I would expect that small changes to the operating point could have dramatic changes to the creation of neutrons within the lattice. The expected non-linearity operation of the nuclear reactions is the prime factor that makes the E-Cat hard to control.
I can’t believe that someone in the group chose to increase the operating temperature to 1400 oC after 10 days into the experiment, and that the E-Cat was stable enough that it didn’t melt down as the melting point of Ni is ~1455 oC. (Note: In last year’s report in the first test run these experimenters did on the earlier version of the E-Cat, they melted down the E-Cat and had to get a second one to continue their experiments.)
A measurement of the gas composition inside the E-Cat (checking for the presence of He) at the end of the 32-day experiment would have helped considerably in establishing the theory of operation. (Note: Even if deuterium is being formed in the Ni lattice, it would have diffused out before a SIMS analysis could have been completed.)
This report should be sufficient to convince most of the “cold-fusion” skeptics that it is possible to create nuclear reactions within a metal lattice. However, it is obvious that much work still needs done to establish a coherent theory for LENR as even Rossi, who had previously claimed to have a theory for what was happening in his E-Cat, was surprised by the result of almost all of the Ni being converted to 62Ni. The key issue for the development of useful LENR devices is maintaining stable operation while extracting maximum heat. A good theory is a necessity for learning to control LENR to the point where it can deliver useful energy with adequate stability. Hopefully this report will generate enough interest in LENR to get more physicists working on it.
For those that have not been following LENR closely the last couple of years there is one theory proposed by Brillouin Energy Corporation that seems reasonable to me. (See the graphical display of their theory at: http://brillouinenergy.com/?page=cecr_vid).
Their theory is as follows: In a Ni lattice populated with interstitial protons (hydrogen nuclei), energy can be supplied to the lattice to get a proton to combine with a free electron to form a neutron. These neutrons react with protons to form deuterium, which reacts with another neutron to form tritium, and a final reaction forming He. Although energy must be supplied to form the initial neutrons, all subsequent reactions release energy back to the Ni lattice. It seems that optimally just enough energy would be supplied to form the initial neutrons so that these neutrons have very little kinetic energy and they stay in interstitial sites in the lattice. If the neutrons have too much kinetic energy, they could be expected to be captured by a Ni nucleus, changing the isotope of the Ni. Perhaps this is what happened to the Ni in this experiment.